by Don Nelson
Happy was a young skunk who had few animal friends and actually liked people.
One day Happy told his mother. “People seem to be afraid of me, they always run away when they see me. You know I would never hurt them.”
“I know that,” his mother said, “but I think people are afraid of getting sprayed by our scent. Remember, our strong smell is our only protection against animals that might hurt us.”
“What should I do then?”
His mother had an idea.
“I want you to take a bath twice a day and be sure not to spray anything for at least a week. Then I will sprinkle some sweet-smelling rose petals all over you, OK?”
Happy ran off to the creek and took a long bath, scrubbing off all his stinky skunk smell. Instead of taking two baths a day, he took three baths a day for seven days.
His mom sprinkled him with ground up rose petals and told him. “Be careful son, most humans out there in ‘people land’ will still be afraid of you.”
The little skunk listened carefully to his mom’s warning and scampered off to where the humans lived. He saw a young boy playing all by himself in a sand box. Happy ran and sat down beside him. The little boy heard Happy, reached out and started rubbing the skunk’s back and said.
“Hi little fella, I wonder where you came from. You sure do smell good, do you want to play with me in the sand?”
Happy thought to himself, my mom sure is smart, she knew exactly the right thing for me to do. All morning the two of them played together, digging big holes and making roads for their trucks and cars, but Happy soon noticed the boy never moved from the spot where he was sitting.
Maybe his legs don’t work too well, he thought. I wish I could fix them and then we could run and jump and play in this big backyard.
The little boy’s mother opened the screen door and hollered out to her son, “Robbie, I have your lunch ready, I’ll bring it out to you.”
The little boy responded, “Mom, is it ok if I share it with my little animal friend?”
His mother saw the skunk sitting next to her son; she dropped his lunch and began running towards Happy waving her hands wildly.
“Robbie don’t move, there’s a skunk next to you, I’m going to scare it away.”
Happy got frightened by the boy’s mom and ran straight home.
“Robbie, I’m glad you’re okay," his mom said. "That stinky skunk could have sprayed you.”
“But Mom, I played with him all morning and I was ok, I thought he was a cat, he was soft and smelled really good.”
The next day Happy cautiously went over to where the boy was sitting in the sandbox and rubbed up against him. The little boy was surprised and said, “I’m glad you came back. I like you. You’re the best animal friend I’ve ever had.”
And so the two of them played together all summer long and whenever there were big people around, Robbie hid Happy in a sand cave that had a secret entrance. At the end of the summer Robbie went back to his special school. The two of them still played together on the weekends.
Happy knew he had made a friend for life and the most amazing thing was, the little skunk never did find out that the little boy was blind.